You can’t risk your face with just anyone who has a needle full of Botox or fillers. But how do you find the right injector for you?

To help you find the right person — and ask the right questions — we asked three highly experienced doctors for their top tips when picking an injector.


1. Know what to look for

Before you even schedule a consult, make sure the person you’re meeting is qualified to give injections.

The rules about who can give injections vary from state-to-state. In some places only a doctor is allowed, but most states allow other medical professionals to work under their supervision.

“Make sure your injector is a licensed healthcare professional: MD, nurse [RN], nurse practitioner [NP], or physician assistant [PA],” says Dr. Daniel Yamini, a Los Angeles plastic surgeon. “Nurses, NPs and PAs have to work under the supervision of a physician. Preferably, your [supervising] physician should be a board-certified specialist trained in cosmetic injections: plastic surgeon, dermatologist, facial plastic or oculoplastic surgeon.”

Once you know your potential injector has the right qualifications, do your research.

“Review your injector’s work on places like RealSelf and pick a place that’s transparent about their prices and offers a free consultation,” says Dr. Justin Harper, a physician in Columbus, Ohio.


Related: Here’s how much time in advance you need to book your treatment.


2. Know what to ask

When we asked doctors about the one thing they wish people would ask, they said that “hands-on experience” is essential.

“It is important to choose an injector who performs many injections each day with a great variety of the injectable fillers available,” says Dr. Michael A. Persky, a plastic surgeon in Encino, California.

Dr. Harper added that it’s always important to ask, “How many of these procedures have you personally done in the last year?”


3. Watch for red flags

Knowing what to avoid is maybe even more important than knowing what to ask. Doctors recommend seeking injectors who are transparent about their practice, offer established treatments and provide good examples of their work.

“Potential warning signs or flags when picking an injector are the injector not having any before and afters of their work online, the injector not having reviews online, and the injector not showing their prices online,” says Dr. Harper.

“Don’t fall for hyped-up ads claiming ‘We are the only ones who do this procedure,’ or we ‘invented’ this procedure, or we have a ‘secret’ procedure,” says Dr. Yamini. “You should only do treatments that have been well-established and standard in the medical community. ‘New’ usually means most injectors don’t have adequate experience, and all the potential side effects are not yet known.

“Make sure your injector discusses exactly what products they are using,” he added. “There are many fake and unsafe products being injected that can cause serious complications.”


Related: Move over, Botox? A new wrinkle fighter is coming.


4. Don’t bargain shop 

As much as we all love a deal, doctors on RealSelf say it’s important to not base your decision only on price when it comes to picking an injector.

“It is not wise to base your choice on the cheapest price available,” says Dr. Persky. “It costs a lot more to take care of the problems caused by cheap discounted treatments. Aesthetic injectable treatments are not a commodity. Rather, the treatments are an art and science.”


5. Be open about your treatment goals

“The biggest problem I face with new patients is they come in with a very specific idea in mind based on advice from non-experts, or worse, social media or the internet,” says Dr. Yamini. “Rather than asking for good advice to address their concerns, they want to tell the doctor what to do, rather than what their goals are.”

Dr. Persky adds that working with someone who is not qualified might pose risks to your outcome — and your health.

“The wrong injector may not only lead to a terrible aesthetic result that can leave a patient looking freakish, but much worse,” he says. “The lack of knowledge of facial anatomy, lack of skill and experience can lead to severe complications, permanent disfigurement and great expense to correct the problems.”


Check out our list of top injectors, as nominated by people on RealSelf.